On March 17, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), held an Open Door Forum to discuss the upcoming surety bond requirement for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS). According to HME News, CMS used the opportunity to reiterate basic facts about the bond and to reveal several new ones. Then, on March 20, CMS posted on the Palmetto GBA website a frequently asked questions (FAQs) page about the surety bond.
During the open door forum, CMS described the surety bond as it is currently defined and also took questions from callers inquiring about the bond. HME News said that CMS stated that a bond will cost about 3 percent of its value-about $1,500 for a $50,000 bond that will be required of most practitioners. The bond must cover the following expenses: the amount of any unpaid claim, plus accrued interest, for which the DMEPOS supplier is responsible to CMS; or, the amount of any unpaid claims, civil monetary penalties, or assessments imposed by CMS or the Office of Inspector General (OIG) on the DMEPOS supplier, plus accrued interest.
CMS also reiterated that new DMEPOS providers who are seeking to enroll and providers that are changing ownership must have a surety bond by May 4, 2009. By October 2, 2009, currently enrolled DMEPOS providers must have a bond in place for each National Provider Identifier (NPI). The only exceptions for the O&P profession are for state-licensed orthotists and prosthetists-not including pedorthists-in private practice who are making custom O&P devices; such businesses must be solely owned and operated by licensed O&P practitioners and billing exclusively for O&P products and services; such practitioners will not be required to purchase a bond.
“We understand the concerns, but we believe it’s important to provide consistent answers to the supplier community. We will try to do this as rapidly as we can, but we want to make sure everyone is on the same page,” said CMS spokesman Frank Whelan, according to HME News.
HME News also noted that “some callers to Tuesday’s forum expressed concern about the lack of availability of bonds,” then said that a caller from Cailor Fleming Insurance stated, “[The surety bond carriers] are hesitant to try to put a bond together because it may not qualify or satisfy the needs of CMS. Until CMS comes out with all their final ruling for the wording, then nothing will get done.”
Whelan was quoted as saying that CMS is cooperating with the Surety Association to develop final language on the bond, and that the bonds’ final form can be expected within weeks.
In the meantime, the list of FAQs about the bonds has been posted to the Palmetto GBA website.
To view the surety bond FAQs, visit www.palmettogba.com/palmetto/providers.nsf/docscat/national%20supplier%20clearinghouse~supplier%20enrollment~faqs?OpenDocument&Start=1.9
To view a list of surety-bond carriers that are approved by the U.S. Department of Treasury, visit www.fms.treas.gov/c570/c570_a-z.html